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Timothy Olmsted, St. Paul Teacher Accused Of Discriminating Against Black Students, Sees Case Move To Federal Court
Sep-13-2012 690 0


Heights Community School parents have filed a lawsuit that is now moving to federal courts against the St. Paul Public School District in Minnesota, amid an investigation into allegations that teacher Timothy Olmsted discriminated against black students.

Olmsted resigned after the district placed him on paid leave in the spring after parents complained that he called black students "fat, black and stupid" and told them, "you will never amount to anything" and "you only have one parent.

The teacher also allegedly forced black students to sit in the back of the classroom, or sit with their desks facing the wall.

"He told the whole entire class that it is easier for him to teach rich white folks than poor black people," Tolbert told reporters.

Olmsted resigned in March, but is still being paid through the first week of October, and parents are dissatisfied. He is also not facing disciplinary action due to the resignation.

In the suit, parents claim that the district failed to protect their children from Olmsted, the Star Tribune reports. Latasha Tolbert, mother of 12-year-old Jamia Ware, said she made nearly 100 calls to school officials in the fall regarding Olmsted's classroom behavior, but the no one acted until January.

District representatives, however, tell the Star Tribune that an investigation was launched promptly and all complaints against the teacher were addressed immediately. Olmsted's attorney notes that the teacher "denies any improper conduct and believes that the claims against him are baseless."

But the educator has a record of controversy. The St. Paul School District reported in 2002 that Olmsted gave a sixth grade girl a birthday card with sexual innuendos, and requested that she read it to the class. He was also accused of giving a graphic description of castrating horses and throwing testicles into a field to feed cats.

For the various incidents over the years, disciplinary actions against him have ranged from written reprimands to days of suspension without pay. Students also find his more recent, racial comments strange.

"He would say random things like when I get out of the shower my dog dries me off," student Aylecia Ingram-Jones told reporters in a separate report.

Her father, Miguel Jones, has moved the teen to another school district, and asserts that there should be no question about whether Olmsted should be allowed to keep teaching.

"I wouldn't stand for it," Jones said. "Right is right. Wrong is wrong."

Minnesota does not have statewide regulations regarding disciplinary action for teachers, so process is followed based on district decisions and as outlined in teachers' union contracts.

The allegations in St. Paul are similar to complaints against Kathleen Pyles, a math teacher at North End Middle School in Waterbury, Conn., who was placed on paid leave in June while officials investigate claims that she addressed a black student with a racist remark.

Parents have accused Pyles of inappropriately calling a student "black boy" when she couldn't remember his name. When she first called the boy by the wrong name, he pointed out her mistake. So she responded, "How about black boy? Go sit down, black boy."

Parents are calling for her dismissal.

In another incident in March, a Virginia high school English teacher allegedly asked the only black student in the class to read a poem in a "blacker" manner.

Jordan Shumate, a ninth-grader at George C. Marshall High School in Falls Church, Va., says he was reading aloud Langston Hughes' "Ballad of the Landlord" when teacher Marilyn Bart interrupted him.

"She told me, 'Blacker, Jordan -- c'mon, blacker. I thought you were black,'" Shumate told The Washington Post.

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Liz Farmer Mar-22-2017 199 0
An 18-year-old Texas woman's claim that she was abducted and assaulted two weeks ago were a hoax, Denison police said Wednesday.

The incident caused a whirlwind of speculation in the town near the Oklahoma border after the bloody woman ran into a church wearing only a shirt, bra and underwear and lied about two black men raping her while a third held her down, Denison Police Chief Jay Burch said.

The woman, identified as Breana Harmon Talbott, confessed to the hoax Tuesday, Burch said.

Talbott was arrested Wednesday on a charge of making a false report to a peace officer.
Police still aren't completely clear on the teen's motive, Denison police Lt. Mike Eppler later said.

In a searing statement, Burch said Talbott caused fear in the area and wasted the department's time and resources.

"Breana Harmon Talbott's hoax was also insulting to our community and especially offensive to the African-American community due to her description of the so-called suspects in her hoax. The anger and hurts caused from such a hoax are difficult and so unnecessary."

The Denison Police Department also plans to seek restitution for the cost of the investigation.
"It's unfortunate a person can falsely report such a major incident in our community that wastes the time of law enforcement and needlessly puts some people in fear," Burch said.

The department believes Talbott staged the crime scene March 8. She also admitted that the cuts on her body were self-inflicted.

Officers initially responded to a call from a man, who described himself as her fiancé and claimed she was missing. He said her vehicle had been found outside an apartment in the 3800 block of Texoma Parkway about 5:30 p.m. with the driver's door open and her phone, keys and a shoe nearby.

The department mobilized all available resources to look for her, even putting other cases aside to focus on the apparent abduction.

She later walked into New Creation Church, in the 3400 block of South Eisenhower Parkway, where she told witnesses she'd been kidnapped and sexually assaulted in the woods behind the building.
Talbott told detectives she was near her vehicle at the apartment when "three black males" in ski masks kidnapped her in a black SUV before raping her.

She was taken to a hospital, where, Burch said, "it is our understanding that medical personnel who examined Talbott were unable to corroborate that Talbott had been sexually assaulted."
Within a day or two of the incident, detectives doubted most of her allegations.

"The puzzle pieces just weren't coming together," Burch said. "We were unable to corroborate any of Talbott's allegations that she had been abducted or sexually assaulted."
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EVAN GROSSMAN Mar-21-2017 89 0
Colin Kaepernick may be out of a job and he may have pledged to end his kneeling protest of the national anthem, but he continues his work to make the world a better place.

Kaepernick recently made twin $50,000 donations to Meals on Wheels America and the Love Army for Somalia, a social media campaign that’s trying to raise $2 million for food and water for starving people in that African nation.

Since he began his social justice crusade last year, Kaepernick has donated an estimated $500,000 to assorted charities and community groups. On the free-agent quarterback’s website, kaepernick7.com, there is a running log of the donations he’s made.

In January, the last month listed on the site, Kaepernick donated $25,000 each to Brooklyn-based Black Veterans for Social Justice and 350.org, the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York, and the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

Since October, Kaepernick has donated $100,000 a month, mostly in $25,000 increments, to a variety of social and community programs dedicated to helping the less fortunate among us.

While President Donald Trump, among others, continues to rip Kaepernick for kneeling during the “Star-Spangled Banner” (and recently presented a federal budget that aims to de-fund programs like Meals on Wheels), Kaepernick has worked to improve the lives of veterans, poor people, minorities, women and immigrants.

It makes you wonder, exactly, who is really working to Make America Great, and who is full of it.
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MOLLY CRANE-NEWMAN Mar-21-2017 69 0
A brutal Bronx nanny was sentenced Tuesday to up to four years in prison for fatally stomping a 20-month-old boy in a bizarre wrestling match at her home day-care center.

The dead boy’s parents choked back tears as Athena Skeeter stood only a few feet away to hear Judge Miriam Best impose the sentence.

Little Cardell Williamson was killed in August 2014 while under the care of Skeeter, 42, a state-licensed day-care provider. She arrived in court wearing prison beige prison garb for the hearing.

In a strange twist, the suspect — who took a March 2 plea deal to a manslaughter count — could possibly walk out of prison in the very near future.

The sentence is 1 1/3-to-4 years in prison, and Skeeter has already served more than two years behind bars. The state parole board will determine her release date — or if she does all four years.

Authorities said Skeeter placed the mortally injured boy into a scalding hot tub after throwing the child on a hardwood floor and stomping on his stomach.

She also acknowledged throwing her own son on top of Cardell — and then stepping on both boys another three times.

“Never got to take him trick-or-treating, Halloween,” said the morose Williamson, 58. “Doing a real good birthday where he understands. I missed all that.

“I missed all them Kodak moments.”

Cheatham, 35, stood with tears in her eyes as prosecutor Danielle Pascale read her victim impact statement.

“I’m just kind of upset that it turned out the way it did,” said Cheatham after the hearing. “I think it is not enough time.”

But the DA’s office said the parents signed off on the deal allowing Skeeter to plead down from a murder charge.

“Three years of misery’s enough for me,“ said Williamson. “I’m just trying to maintain my sanity, what I have left, and move on to the next battle.”
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Ian Auzenne Mar-18-2017 122 0
OPELOUSAS - Three former Westminster Christian Academy students accused of hanging a noose on campus are now charged with intent to intimidate and public display of a noose.

The school released an updated statement today, which says that none of the students involved are enrolled at the school now.

Judah Benjamin Barber, 18, surrendered to deputies at the St. Landry Parish Jail after warrant was issued for his arrest. He was booked and bonded out. The two other students, both juveniles, were booked and released into their parents' custody.

Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says he moved forward with the charges after an investigation found enough probable cause to arrest the students.

"This kind of incident should never happen and will affect both sides the rest of their lives," Sheriff Guidroz said in a press release. "Jokes or actions like this are hateful, humiliating, and degrading to the persons who they are directed to and will cast a very dark shadow on the students that preformed the actions for the rest of their lives."
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Paula Rogo Mar-18-2017 98 0
Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick continues to make philanthropic waves after securing a way to provide relief to the people of Somalia.

After joining a Twitter campaign begging Turkish Airlines to send a cargo plane with aid, the former quarterback announced on Twitter Friday that he had secured one from the airline to bring supplies to the East African nation.

Colin Kaepernick ? @Kaepernick7
We got the plane! Now it's time to raise funds for food and water. You can donate at http://GoFundMe.com/lovearmyforsomalia … #LoveArmyForSomalia

“Amazing news, Turkish Airlines granted us an airplane to fly to Somalia, a 60-ton cargo plane so we can fly there with food, with water for these people,” said Kaepernick in a video. “Now we’ve started a GoFundMe page to allow anyone to help us donate food, donate water. We’ll make sure every cent goes to help these people.”

Turkish Airlines is one of the few that travel to Somalia, and the flight is expected to take place March 27.

The GoFundMe page’s goal is $1 million, a number it quickly surpassed in 24 hours.

“This is a victory for the people, this is a victory for the people of Somalia,” said Kaepernick. “It was done out of love, out of respect for these people. We wanted to bring structure to this so we’re going to use the name Love Army for Somalia. So use the #LoveArmyforSomalia. This is amazing, let’s keep building, let’s keep going.”
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TERENCE CULLEN Mar-18-2017 118 0
An unarmed man was shot to death by Tennessee cops — after they claim he tried to run him over while acting unstable — recorded the shooting live on Facebook.

Rodney James Hess, 36, streamed two videos Thursday as he sat in his parked SUV, which cops said was blocking an off-ramp in Alamo, Tenn. He was shot after police claim they became worried he’d mow them down with his car.

Hess was transported to a hospital where he later died. Cops responded to calls around 2:15 Thursday afternoon that a truck was parked sideways on a highway exit.

The first video captures mostly before cops arrive. The 17-minute recording is relatively quiet and shows the car moving before the first Crockett County deputy arrives.

Family of mentally ill Ky. man shot by police demanding answers
Hess was acting “erratic” by the time more deputies arrived at the scene, said Josh DeVine, spokesman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Hess allegedly attempted to run deputies over twice during this unstable period, he added.

“At one point, preliminary information indicates Hess tried to use his vehicle, his SUV, to strike the officers at least twice,” DeVine told reporters Thursday night.

In the second video — which lasts just more than a minute — deputies are seen surrounding Hess’ car.

Hess' fiance told a local newspaper he was suffering from bipolar disorder. (VIA FACEBOOK)
Repeatedly, Hess is heard asking to speak with “the higher commands.”

“I would like the higher commands to come out,” he says in the video.

That’s when his car is seen moving in reverse. A deputy at the driver’s window waves something in his hand.

Then gun shots are heard, followed by Hess screaming in pain. The car is then seen moving before coming to a halt.

DeVine said a deputy shot Hess through his windshield as authorities became concerned he’d run them over.

“The information suggests that multiple officers were at risk of injury when this situation escalated,” he said.

Hess then drove his car “a short distance away” before crashing into a ravine, DeVine said.

Hess was shot by police after deputies surrounded his car as seen on his Facebook Live stream.
The slain man was not armed at the time, DeVine said, but added cops considered his car a weapon.

The videos don’t show Hess trying to run police over, but it appears there’s a time gap between the two recordings.

In an email to the Daily News, DeVine said TBI is aware of the recordings, but have yet to confirm their validity at this point.

Hess had a New Orleans address, and authorities initially weren’t sure what he was doing in Tennessee.

But relatives told NBC News he moved to Tennessee from Louisiana because of Hurricane Katrina.

His fiancé told the Jackson Sun that Hess suffered from bipolar disorder.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will hand over its findings to a district attorney general, who will then determine if cops acted improperly.
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Danielle Douglas-Gabriel Mar-17-2017 150 0
After meetings with the Trump administration last month, leaders of historically black colleges and universities expressed cautious optimism that the increased funding they requested might actually make it into the White House budget. It did not.

Instead, Trump’s first presidential budget released Thursday calls for “maintaining” $492 million in appropriations for HBCUs and minority-serving institutions. Combined discretionary spending for those schools, however, is actually $577 million right now. The White House directed questions about the discrepancy to the Education Department, which did not respond to requests for comment.

There is no mention in the budget of any federal investment in scholarships, technology or campus infrastructure for historically black colleges that leaders requested. And instead of expanding Pell grants for low-income students to cover summer courses as they had asked, the budget raids nearly $4 billion from the program’s reserves.

“Less than three weeks ago, this administration claimed it is a priority to advocate for HBCUs but, after viewing this budget proposal, those calls ring hollow,” Rep. Alama Adams (D-N.C.), a graduate of the largest HBCU, North Carolina A&T State University, said in a statement.

Johnny Taylor, president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, said the proposed appropriations could be a lot worse considering the total amount of cuts on the table for the Education Department. He said HBCU advocates had to fight the Obama administration for funding, and stressed that the lines of communication remain open with the current administration.

“This is a process,” Taylor said. “We’re already had phone calls with the administration to say that as we go into the specific lines of this budget, this is where we’d like you to consider increases. This is only stage one.”

There was plenty of skepticism when the Trump administration made overtures toward black school leaders, including from students who questioned whether their college presidents were only being used for photo ops. It didn’t help when Education Secretary Betsy DeVos called historically black institutions “real pioneers when it comes to school choice,” a statement that HBCU advocates said ignored that the schools were a response to racist Jim Crow laws that enforced segregation.

Despite the controversy, HBCU leaders remained focused on funding and held out hope that Trump’s executive order regarding their schools would include some money. It did not. The order, signed in February, directs the White House initiative on HBCUs to operate from the White House instead of the Education Department. While some viewed the move as a signal that the more than 100 historically black schools were a priority for the administration, others said it was purely symbolic without monetary support.

At the time, United Negro College Fund President Michael L. Lomax, who attended the ceremonial signing, lamented the lack of financial support in the order, noting that none of the funding recommendations were included. Nevertheless, he encouraged HBCU advocates to continue to work with the administration and Congress. On Thursday, the UNCF urged the president to reconsider federal funding commitments and sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney reiterating recommendations made during last month’s meetings.

“President Trump pledged to do more for HBCUs than any other president has done before. However, this budget is not reflective of that sentiment,” Lomax said Thursday. “Without strong federal investments, President Trump’s commitment to HBCUs and the rebuilding of African American communities will be promises unfulfilled.”

Historically black schools educated nearly 300,000 students in 2014, the latest figure available from the National Center for Education Statistics. Education Department data shows that three-quarters of all doctorates awarded to African Americans and 80 percent of black federal judges earned an undergraduate degree at historically black schools.

Though the federal government sets aside money in the budget for historically black colleges, those schools have not benefited from the same level of public funding as other institutions of higher education. The disparity in funding public HBCUs, in particular, has resulted in a series of lawsuits, including a decade-old case in Maryland that is still being fought in the courts.

“You can’t just have a photo op for HBCUs and not create more funding for them,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said on a call with reporters Thursday. “These schools have been under austerity for years, and if they’re going to compete with others, they need more funding.”
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Taylor Lorenz Mar-17-2017 110 0
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) on Friday called for President Trump to apologize to former President Obama for accusing him of "wiretapping" Trump Tower without evidence.

"I see no indication that's true. It's not a charge that I would ever have ever made, and frankly unless he can produce some pretty compelling proof, then I think President Obama is owed an apology in that regard," Cole said.

"If he didn't do it, we shouldn't be reckless in accusations that he did."
Cole is the first GOP lawmaker to call for an apology, although other Republicans have questioned why Trump made the accusation without proof.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday defended Trump, saying: "The president has already been very clear that he didn't mean specifically wiretapping. He had it in quotes. So I think to fall back on that is a false premise. That's not what he said. He was very clear when he talked about it yesterday."

Spicer said Trump stood by his claim, after the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier Thursday said it sees "no indication that Trump Tower was a subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016."

Trump earlier this month wrote in a series of early Saturday morning tweets that "Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower" during the campaign, calling his predecessor a "bad (or sick) guy!"
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Brian Lisi Mar-15-2017 110 0
Authorities are charging a 26-year-old man with the murder of a 2-year-old and the boy's uncle in Chicago, a shocking incident that was broadcast as it happened via Facebook Live.

Lazaric Collins, 26, was driving through the North Lawndale neighborhood on Valentine's Day with his pregnant girlfriend and nephew, Lavontay White, when their car was struck by gunfire, the Chicago Tribune reports.

As she sang along to some music, Collins' girlfriend was streaming their ride together on Facebook Live before Devon Swan allegedly shot at the vehicle, killing Lavontay and Collins while also wounding the unnamed woman.

She escaped the besieged car with her phone and ran to a nearby home for help, crying out that she had "a bullet in my stomach."

Shooting that killed Chicago toddler captured on Facebook Live
Both White and Collins were shot in the head.

Police believe Swan had intentionally targeted Collins, who they say was a documented gang member.

Collins' girlfriend, who is four months into her pregnancy, is in fair condition. Her unborn child also reportedly survived the attack despite the mother's gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Swan faces first-degree murder charges while authorities believe there will be additional arrests in the Tuesday afternoon attack.
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